Back in 2003, I ran a tiny little website. This same tiny little website. I didn’t exactly have a reputation as a bad-ass or anything, I didn’t consider myself deep in the Warez or Software Piracy scenes, nothing like that at all. But it was clear that a small community of people around the internet saw me as an influencer of some kind.
I had somehow obtained a few new maps for the game Unreal Tournament 2003. Maps weren’t uncommon. The game included all of the tools players needed to create their own new maps to do battle on. But someone had passed these maps along to me and said that these maps were beta versions of maps within the game. I don’t actually recall the specifics, some 15 years later, but the selection of maps may have also included beta versions of maps that were supposed to be part of an up-coming map pack? I genuinely don’t recall, but at the time, I wasn’t even sure if the source was legitimate. For all I knew they had made their own maps based on a couple of screen shots that had been released. But I nevertheless thought they were very cool.
When you possess something that you think is very cool, and you’re still a teenager, the first thing you think is that you want to share it with OTHER PEOPLE who will think it is cool as well. Where would you find people that think Unreal Tournament 2003 maps are cool? Why, the official Unreal Tournament 2003 forums, obviously!
An excerpt from my original 2003 website (typos and all):
I saw no harm, and I figured if I would’ve taken the time to request permission to do so, I would’ve never gotten a response, and would’ve gone about this the same way as I have chosen to.
As I said, a few maps, I didn’t think of them as warez, but aparantly Mark Rein feels differently. So, in hopes to wipe the slate clean, I have removed the links to the files, and the files will be removed ASAP.
My appologies to Mark, Epic, and Infogrames as a whole – I didn’t think anyone would mind a couple of maps being passed along. I guess I was wrong. But I hope I can regain access to the forums, nice folks you have. Like I said, I would cooperate as soon as I heard from you, and I have done so. I hope nobody is angry.
At least Mark Rein now knows my name (I don’t know if that’s good or bad! 😉 ).
I do remember being rightfully chewed out on the forum by Epic Games’ VP Mark Rein himself. I don’t recall the specifics of what he said, but I remember very clearly that, even through a forum on the internet, he seemed furious. I was immediately banned, and don’t think I ever even tried to re-register on their forums after that. Less than an hour after it went live, my post was deleted, and it was never mentioned again.